Describe the nature of system-level analysis. In your answer, compare system-level analysis with other levels of analysis, including a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of examining international political phenomena from the system level
States are the major players in world politics, with their approaches to foreign policy being an important part of dynamism of the global stage. It is a common play in the global arena that states either react directly or indirectly to the actions carried out by other states (Bennett and Shambaugh). Nevertheless, it is important to note that the states are not the only key actors in the global front and that other actors such as individuals in authority influence the direction of global politics through the decisions they make. To understand the complex nature of the foreign policy process, it is important to consider the three level of analysis including the individual-level, state-level, and system level analyses.
To start with, individual level analysis takes on the notion that polices are made by persons. Thus, this level of analysis entails developing a clear understanding of how policies are made through decision-making processes adopted by individuals. It is clear from this level of analysis that the human species portrays a set of traits that influences the way they make policies (Bennett and Shambaugh).
On the other hand, the state level analysis takes the context into which such human traits are applied in making policies into consideration. It is important to note that the making of policies occurs within a political context. Countries form a significant part of such a political structure. The state-level analysis places an emphasis on state characteristics and how such characteristics affect how choices of foreign policies are made and implemented (Bennett and Shambaugh).
However, as much as countries have sovereignty in making policy decisions, the international system establishes boundaries within which such decisions can be made. As such, the third level of analysis, the system-level analysis concentrates on external factors that restrain foreign policy (Bennett and Shambaugh). One of the major disadvantages of the system-level analysis approach towards global politics is that most nations resolve to balance in their foreign policy, which involves aligning the state with the desire to defeat or resist their most pressing threat. This leads to conflict in the international environment and, in worst cases, war. On the other hand, a major benefit of this approach is that it allows for adoption of bandwagoning in the foreign policy, which involves aligning the nation with the desire to appease their most pressing threat in order to attain security (Bennett and Shambaugh).
What are the major characteristics of an anarchical political system?
One of the major characteristics of an anarchical political system is that it does not involve a central authority that would solve disputes among actors or establish and enforce laws (Bennett and Shambaugh). As such, in this type of political system, there is consistency in chaos and conflict and the weak are preyed upon by the powerful.
List and explain two challenges to the authority of the state in the 21st century.
The state of the security of the States’ authority in the twenty-first century is facing various challenges amidst the changes taking place in polar configuration. One of the major challenges faced by states involves the forces of McWorld (Bennett and Shambaugh). Such forces constitute economic, social, and political pressures, which are increasingly hampering the authority and significance of states and propelling the world towards more integration in terms of the social, political, and economic systems. Another important challenge involves the forces of tribalism (Bennett and Shambaugh). Erosive rivalries between ethnic groups are a major test to states and sometimes lead to the collapse of such states. Case in point, in 1991, the Soviet Union was divided into fifteen different countries as a result of ethnic divisions.
Discuss the concept of economic interdependence.
Economic interdependence is the mutual relationship that countries have with each other, whereby different global regions have been linked by economic globalization through activities including trade, production, and consumption. Global trade has increased the integration of national economies, an aspect that has led to growth of different nations across the world and hence their dependence upon their trade partners’ economic welfare (Bennett and Shambaugh).
Bennett, Andrew and George Shambaugh. Clashing Views in American Foreign Policy. 5th. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009.